Indian firm to supervise construction of Ogle/Eccles road
The Ministry of Public Works on Wednesday signed a contract with an Indian firm – Rail India Technical and Economic Service Limited (RITES) Ltd – to supervise the construction of the Ogle to Eccles road link.
The actual construction of the road will be done by India-based Ashoka Construction Company which won the US$106.4 million contract, which was signed on Friday last. This company won the bid after it offered a five per cent discount.
With two companies from India securing these contracts, the Public Works Minister Juan Edghill has assured Guyanese that there is nothing unusual as he talked up government’s transparency in the public procurement process.
RITES will essentially have to overlook the construction of the road to ensure it is done to stipulations.
RITES, an agency that falls under India’s Ministry of Railways, won the US$ 3.5 million contract through an open international bidding process; this was confirmed by the Ministry of Public Works and the Indian High Commission in Guyana.
Both Edghill and Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. K.J Srinivasa have vouched for the reputation of RITES and India-based Ashoka Construction Company.
Part of the loan agreement between Guyana and India was that an Indian firm would have to be selected to carry out the construction.
“I don’t want people to besmirch or create the impression that something is unusual between Guyana and India. I want to make it clear that the two countries are in cooperation. We have bilateral relations and, in our engagements, we follow laws of both Guyana and India,” Edghill said.
The construction on the 7.8 KM road is expected to start almost immediately and will last for some 24 months.
RITES, however, was awarded a contract for 34 months, which includes the period for defects liability, following the road construction.
Dr. Srinivasa said with first-hand knowledge of the company’s history, he is confident of its ability to deliver.
The new four-lane road will be built from the intersection of the Rupert Craig Highway and the Ogle airstrip road to Haags Bosch, Eccles, on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
With the new four-lane road, commuters heading to the East Bank and even Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) will no longer need to travel through the capital city Georgetown.
“Lots of good things are happening in Guyana… success is not just about how much is being done but the impact of what is being done, who benefits, how we benefit… here at the ministry in every region of this country there are major multimillion development projects that are being undertaken,” Edghill added.
He cautioned RITES that they are coming to work in an environment where people have high expectations and participate heavily.
“Citizens can also come out with their ruler and check and supervise.”
The contract for the construction of the road comes about eight years after Guyana received a funding commitment from India.
Then, under former President Donald Ramotar, a US$50 million loan commitment from the Indian Exim Bank was given to fund the road project. After the change of government in 2015, however, the project was stalled.
Guyana has now received the US $50 million as a line of credit from India and will be using those funds to advance the project.